‘Child of Eden’ Combines Stunning Visuals and Enjoyable Gameplay
What’s your Saturday night like? Going to a party? Oh, that’s fun. Cheap beer, hazy memories and a morning of regret. Real original.
What’s my Saturday night like? Why, thank you for asking! My Saturday night involves diving into the Internet of the 23rd century, a technicolor dream world that pulsates along with bass-heavy electronic music and filled with crazy space whales and phoenixes.
“But LSD is illegal,” you protest. “My mom will send me back to military school! I won’t go back, man! You can’t make me! I’ll die before I go back!”
Well, put down that knife, troubled youth; this trip requires no illicit drugs. I’m talking about “Child of Eden,” a game that explores the concept of synesthesia, or when different sensory reactions become linked.
That might sound complex, but “Child of Eden” is anything but. You float through ethereal environments from a first-person perspective, and the game controls where you go and what you look at. What you do control is a targeting reticle used to purify the corrupted enemies you come across. See, you aren’t “killing” things here, you’re “purifying” them. Sounds much happier, right?
There’s the basic framework of a story to give your actions context, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. Welcome to the 23rd century, where some girl’s consciousness has been reconstructed in the Internet (now called Eden) and is being corrupted by a virus. Save her.
You have two weapons to use – one that fires a rapid-fire shot, and one that has you selecting up to eight enemies at once before purifying them all – and this is where “Child of Eden” gets really cool.
Everything in “Eden” is action/reaction. The rapid-fire weapon sounds like drums pattering along with the music; the lock-on weapon makes a noise for each enemy you lock on to and each time you fire. That’s where the synesthesia aspect comes into play. The world is pulsing with the beat, the game is making noises for every action you’re taking and your controller is vibrating. Turn off the lights and turn up the volume to get lost in a sea of lights and sounds unlike anything else you’ve experienced before. You’ll find yourself tapping along with the lock-on weapon even when there are no enemies around just to add your own influence to the game’s pounding rhythm.
“Child of Eden” also supports Move on PlayStation 3 and Kinect on Xbox 360. Now, I know I’ve already said “this is where ‘Child of Eden’ gets really cool,” but this is where “Child of Eden” gets really cool.
I played the game with a Move controller, a black wand with an orb at the top that glows purple. It’s like playing with a Wii remote, but far more responsive. You move your hand around to aim and lock on to the enemies, then throw it forward to fire (or just hold and release a button, which is way less tiring). It works the same way on Kinect, just without the Move controller, the 1:1 responsiveness and the sweet glowing orb. Playing with the Move controller is way more fun and immersive than playing with a classic PS3 or 360 controller, but you can still play like that if you don’t have Move or Kinect.
If there’s one criticism to make, it’s that “Child of Eden” is super short. Like, “I’ve only been playing it for a couple hours and I’m already watching the credits roll,” short. Mind you, there’s real incentive to play each level again and again, and it’d be an awesome game to have around on the off-chance that you have actual drugs around.
“Child of Eden” only being a couple hours long doesn’t matter at all to me, but I’ll recognize that not everybody is insane the way I am. I’d have happily paid exorbitant amounts of money or promised my first-born’s soul to play this game. I’m not sure how many other people would make that commitment.
You can find “Child of Eden” for Xbox 360 on Amazon.com for less than $20, but since “Child of Eden” only recently came out on PlayStation 3, it’ll set you back about $35. If that price is scaring you off, wait until it drops, but you should definitely check it out.
Image courtesy of electricblueskies.com